It took a pandemic to clear our streets
And to empty our wide blue skies
I heard in the news that the fresher air
Will save a large number of lives
Saving the world from wild fires and floods
From loss of species, pollution and cars
Is a by-product of the spread of a tiny invisible
Thing travelling the globe and arresting us
Making us stop and breathe and think
That maybe the drastic solutions aren’t
So drastic at all. Just working from home
Or taking the bike, might guarantee
That our children will have a future
Worth living for, too. Forgoing flights,
Or even living like this for three months
Out of every year might be enough
To give us a chance, to pass on the world
In a better, more decent state. Our children learn words
That they shouldn’t know now. They learn fast
Like a sponge, and know more than we think
About social distancing, and danger, about death rates
And that Zoom always crashes, and nobody talks
Like they would face to face with their mates.
About adults being more vulnerable than they thought.
Let’s at least give them something to be grateful for
When this is over. The rainbows in windows are painted by them
To tell us, there’s hope. We just need to learn as well.
We need to carry the good change through, and build our world again.
Tamara von Werthern is an award-winning playwright based in Hackney.
You can read more about the success of her dystopian short film, I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire, here.
Her play The White Bike, and climate change book Letters to the Earth, featuring her contribution, are available at Pages of Hackney bookshop on Lower Clapton Road, which is currently closed but still selling book tokens.